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Medieval settlement of Winterborne Farringdon and associated remains

A Scheduled Monument in Winterborne Came, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6931 / 50°41'34"N

Longitude: -2.4289 / 2°25'43"W

OS Eastings: 369802.007011

OS Northings: 88243.692697

OS Grid: SY698882

Mapcode National: GBR PY.SXX2

Mapcode Global: FRA 57S7.ZG8

Entry Name: Medieval settlement of Winterborne Farringdon and associated remains

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1959

Last Amended: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020550

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33196

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Winterborne Came

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Dorchester and West Stafford

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the site of a deserted medieval settlement and part of
an associated field system and trackways at Winterborne Farringdon, situated
within the South Winterborne valley.
The settlement, which was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historic
Monuments of England in 1970, survives as a series of earthwork remains which
extend discontinuously over an area of about 8ha.
The main area of settlement occurs to the west and mainly occupies a terrace
to the south of the river. It includes ten enclosures, some with internal
subdivisions, likely to represent `closes' or individual property plots.
Within the group, at least eight building platforms can be identified, some of
which represent house sites. The closes are associated with several hollow
ways or tracks which run north-south across the centre of the group and east-
west to the south. The hollow ways vary in size between 1.5m to 3m in width,
and are about 0.5m in depth. One hollow way leads to St German's Church, which
dates from the 14th century, and which lies near to the centre of the group.
The foundations of the church are visible as a roughly rectangular earthwork
with an upstanding gable wall at the eastern end. The wall, which is Listed
Grade II, is composed of flint and ashlar dressed stone and may have been
rebuilt during the 19th century.
To the north of the South Winterborne valley there is a further group of
earthworks situated on low-lying marshy ground. These include a rectangular
structure, a hollow way and series of enclosing banks which are likely to
relate to the medieval settlement. To the north lies a substantial bank and
linear channel, which relate to post-medieval drainage works and lie outside
the scheduling.
The settlement area to the east covers an area of 1.6ha; it is separated from
the main area of settlement, but is linked to it by a track. These earthworks
include at least one building platform, a possible pond and other associated
The origins of the village are uncertain, but it is recorded by 1397.
Historical documentation suggests that the settlement suffered from poverty
throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. By 1650 there were only three
households left within the village and J Hutchins, a Dorset historian, records
that by 1773 the village had long been depopulated. The records suggest
gradual depopulation of the settlement rather than a single episode of
To the south, a group of lynchets survive as low earthworks and these form
part of the field system associated with the medieval settlement. The
lynchets, which follow the contours of the slope represent cultivation
terraces and were produced by medieval ploughing which cut into the upper
slope of the terrace and deposited the resulting material along the lower
side. The lynchets have been largely ploughed out on the upper slopes, and
only the better preserved earthworks on the lower slope are included the
All fence posts and gates which relate to the modern field boundaries, along
with the fence erected around the gable end associated with St German's
Church are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the West Wessex sub-Province of the Central Province, an
area characterised by large numbers of villages and hamlets within
countrysides of great local diversity, ranging from flat marshland to hill
ridges. Settlements range from large, sprawling villages to tiny hamlets, a
range extended by large numbers of scattered dwellings in the extreme east and
west of the sub-Province. Cultivation in open townfields was once present, but
early enclosure was commonplace. The physical diversity of the landscape was,
by the time of Domesday Book in 1086, linked with great variations in the
balance of cleared land and woodland.

The medieval settlement at Winterborne Farringdon survives as a group of well-
preserved earthworks and associated buried remains, and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
associated landscape. The construction of the folly at the church site is
unusual and significant because it has reused original stonework. There is
some potential for the survival of waterlogged deposits along the stream edge
which is unusual for the area. The survival of the adjacent area of field
system and the associated trackways will also provide an important insight
into medieval farming practices and the economy of the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 387

Source: Historic England

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